“The trouble is, if a person has no hope things can get better, there’s not a whole lot anyone else can say to change that.”
Debut Novel Explores Secrets Among Friends…and Other Liars
Sometimes the secrets we keep are more dangerous than the ones we reveal…
When Ruby St. James returns to her hometown of Chatwick, Vermont, it’s under the worst circumstances. It’s been ten years since she’s been home, and she tells herself the solitary life she’s built in New York City suits her just fine—at least well enough to avoid slicing open the scars left by her first love, Murphy, or her bipolar, recovering alcoholic mother.
But when one of her estranged childhood friends commits suicide and another compels her to attend the funeral, guilt draws her right back into the tumultuous world she escaped from a decade ago.
Her plan—to hightail it out of town the minute the last rose hits Danny’s coffin—is delayed when her former friends are called together for a reading of Danny’s last words. Their hopes to gain some sense of closure are quickly dashed when the note drips with bitterness, accusing them of abandoning both him and the promise they once made to always love and trust one another.
As punishment, they are each handed an envelope containing their darkest secret and told they can either reveal them or keep quiet, risking the secrets coming out publicly in a trap Danny left behind.
As the secrets begin to trickle out, Ruby struggles between the pull to reconnect with the friends who once meant so much to her and the desperate need to keep the secret that changed her life.Told from alternating viewpoints and flashbacks, Friends and Other Liars is the story of five friends coming to terms with what it means to betray the ones who love you most.
Kaela Coble lives in Burlington, Vermont, and is a member of the League of Vermont Writers and a graduate of the WoMentoring Project. This is her first novel.
Friends and Other Liars: A Novel
ISBN: 9781492651161; FEBRUARY 2018
$15.99 U.S.; Trade Paper; Fiction/Mystery
Danny, Ruby, Murphy, Ally, & Emmett… the original crew! They grew up together, went to school together, got into mischief together, confided in each other, and then…
ONE OF THEM COMMITS SUICIDE.
Danny lived a very hard life. He experienced things at home a kid should never experience. When times got really tough, he ran to Ruby and Murphy. They took care of him when he needed help. But…they didn’t tell anyone. They kept a secret. Now they wonder if telling someone 10 years ago, when it mattered, would have saved his life!
Things got too hard to deal with, Ruby leaves Vermont and runs off to NYU, never looking back. She walked away from the “crew”, just like that! Until…
10 years later, She receives word that her very best friend, one of the crew, is no longer alive. Gone forever. Everyone knew Danny had problems. Everyone knew he never got help. But no one did anything about it. Was it their job though?
So, Ruby heads back to Vermont. She never expected what she got when she arrived! Danny left everyone a note, demanding they make their darkest secrets known to each other.
“Just remember that all things done in the dark have a way of coming to light. If you don’t tell each other your secrets, you never know how, or when, I might have arranged for them to come out.”
The next few days, secrets are revealed but the crew soon realizes that some secrets are lies! Ruby spends the days after Danny’s funeral trying to make sense of it all at the same time trying to keep her own secret safe!
“Nobody’s judging you, because either way, what you’ve done says more about the kind of person you are than anything that comes after.”
As this story unfolds, you will grow close to these characters, their past and their secrets. You won’t believe their secrets and how they reveal themselves. We loved this story! It’s like “One of Us is Lying” meets “Thirteen Reasons Why”! BRAVO for Kaela Coble!
Kaela Coble is an author of women’s fiction, represented by Stephanie Kip Rostan of Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency. Her first novel, FRIENDS AND OTHER LIARS, will be published in February 2018 by Sourcebooks Landmark. It is available as FRIENDS AND LIARS in the U.K., published by Altantic Corvus.
She is also passionate about helping people to develop professionally, whether that be as a writer or in any other career. This enthusiasm for career development led her to launch a coaching business in 2016. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer through the Professional Association of Résumé Writers and Career Coaches.
Kaela earned her B.S. in Communications and completed a short stint as a copywriter before becoming disillusioned with the marketing of cloud solutions and “sustainable” chemicals, switching to assistant work to free up creative energy for her true passions. She is a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association as well as the League of Vermont Writers, and is a graduate of the Womentoring Project. She is also a voracious reader, and hopeless addict to bad television and good chocolate. She lives with her husband in Burlington, Vermont, and is a devoted mother to their rescued chuggle, Gus.
A Q & A Session with Kaela Coble and Two Girls and a Book Obsession…
Q – We have read that you began a Career Coaching business! What a helpful service for people to use! What kind of careers have you coached people in? Do you get requests from many writers or do people from all walks of life come to you for your coaching?
A – I started out doing resume and cover letter critiques and then became a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and began writing resume and cover letters from scratch. That is my true love (of course, because I’m a writer and feel most comfortable behind my computer). But of course a killer resume and cover letter only gets you in the door, so I expanded to coaching on interview skills, negotiating salary, etc. I’ve coached people from all walks of life – off the top of my head I can think of clients who worked in social work, technology, energy, healthcare, childcare, sales, the military, marketing, etc. Not too many writers (yet), but I also offer query letter and synopsis critiques and have been a beta reader on several occasions. Basically I love lending whatever experience I have to people who are striving to be successful in any field – it’s so important to be engaged in and passionate about your work, and I love helping people get closer to that.
Q – Living in the Northeast United States has its weather challenges. Me personally, I am not a winter weather lover! What season do you love the most and when it is the “off season”, where do you like to vacation?
A – One of the reasons I love living in Vermont is the four seasons – you get a little bit of everything, so it’s never boring. It’s hard for me to pick my favorite season because there’s pros and cons of each – I love the warmth and freedom of summer (not having to warm up your car and bundle in a hundred layers before you leave the house, being able to walk tall instead of hunched over against the wind), but I don’t do well in extreme heat and I look terrible in shorts. In the winter I love watching the snowfall – there’s something so magical about it – and snuggling on the coach with my husband and dog and electric blanket. But I guess I would have to say the fall is my favorite. The foliage in Vermont is so beautiful, and it’s (generally) still sunny and warm enough to enjoy the apple picking and golfing but cool enough to break out the sweaters and the tall boots. Clearly my feelings about seasons are mostly wardrobe related. We haven’t had a wintervacation in a few years because we were saving for other life events (our wedding, our delayed honeymoon in Europe a year later, and now we’re building a house), but most summers we do spend a week at the Jersey shore where my husband grew up. I hope in future years to spend a week in the winter at an all-inclusive – how much more relaxing can you get?
Q – Are the character’s experiences in your book, Friends and Other Liars, based on true stories or are they completely fabricated? Do you get your inspiration for the characters in your stories from people you know?
A – The characters are definitely based on my group of childhood friends, although they’re all amplified to work better for the events and relationships I wanted to craft in the book. It’s been interesting to have conversations with those friends as I let them read the advanced copies of the book. I them to be angry, but so far they have been incredibly supportive and the conversations we’ve had have actually brought us closer. As far as the actual events in the book, some of Ruby’s experiences were mine, butnone of the secrets are true of any of the characters. I think it’s important to note that the more dramatic stuff was fabricated.
Q – What is the grossest food you’ve ever tried? What is your favorite guilty pleasure food?
A – I have a lot of food “things.” I don’t like mayo, sour cream, cottage or ricotta or cream cheese, ranch dressing, basically any white creamy substance except alfredo sauce. So foods that other people love – cheesecake, egg/tuna salad, deviled eggs, traditional lasagna – I find revolting. My favorite guilty pleasure foods are Lays potato chips, strong cheddar cheese, Dove promises, nachos, and watermelon Sour Patch kids. I can’t keep any of these items in my house because I will literally eat them until I’m sick!
Q – Can you name an unusual talent you have that many people who know you well may not even realize you have?
A – I’m really good at predicting what’s going to happen in movies and tv shows…but everyone knows that because I’m always ruining it for them by shouting out the ending. It annoyed my husband so much that I now have a notebook where I write down my predictions. I just can’t stand not having people know I’m right!
Q – Wine and chocolate or beer and chips?
A – Both! Depending on my mood.
Q – Snowy Winter or Tropical Summer?
A – Both – I know I’m such a cheater but I wouldn’t appreciate either without the other.
Sandy Beach, poolside living? Beach for sure! Although I’m fair skinned so I’m an under-the-umbrella kind of beach person. I don’t think there’s anything more relaxing than sitting in the sand and alternating between reading an Elin Hilderbrand novel and watching the waves.
Q – Morning person or Night Owl?
A – I can’t believe I’m saying this but I’ve evolved into a total morning person over the last several years. If I’m still awake at 10pm it’s a miracle.
Q – If we asked your mom to describe what you were like as a child, what do you think she would tell us?
A – Oh boy. She would probably tell you some stories: Like the time I got away from her in the grocery store and she found me sitting next to an old woman, sucking my thumb and running my fingers along the sleeve of her jacket because it felt like the satin edge of my blankie. Or how she couldn’t put me down in restaurants because I would wander around to the other tables to chat with everyone and show off. Or how I came home from preschool inconsolable because I found out Jesus was dead (looking back, the preschool was a little more religious that my mother intended). So basically I think she would describe me as outgoing and happy but also highly sensitive.
Q – What did you have the most trouble with in school as a child and how did you overcome that? Did any one teacher stand out to you in a helpful way?
A – I had a really hard time transitioning from summer into school at the beginning of the year. I would get terrible anxiety for the first several weeks until I got into a routine and established my friends and relationship with my teacher. Once that happened, I was kind of a teacher’s pet – my mother was a teacher for over thirty years and therefore I was raised to be very obedient and respectful of authority figures, and there was a strong emphasis on schoolwork. What I did get in trouble for was talking and socializing too much. The gist of my report card comments were “Kaela’s a great student, but she is a bit of a chatterbox.” If I ever write a memoir, I think Chatterbox will be the title!
Q – If you could hire someone for the rest of your life so that you would never have to do something…what would it be? (I would hire someone to cook all of my meals – and good luck to that person because my kids are picky lol)
A – Cleaning, without hesitation! I am impatient and always super busy so I hate spending my limited free time on cleaning. My house is still pretty clean because we keep up with it, but all those “spring cleaning” type tasks like washing windows and casings and baseboards and cleaning the oven rarely get done.
Q – Can you give your readers a hint about what you are working on next?
A – I’d love to! What people don’t always know is how loooong it takes between getting a book deal and the book actually being published. Because of that gap, my next book is pretty much finished, (until an editor gets their hands on it). It’s about two best friends, one of whom kills the other’sfiance in a car accident. It’s focused a lot on forgiveness and how to move on when something so unspeakably tragic and complex happens. And I’m actually about a third of the way through a first draft of my third book, which is about three sisters in a seemingly perfect family who all have secrets — all of which pale in comparison to the family secret they’re about to find out.